The Golden State Warriors are coming off of one of the best wins of the season, beating the OKC Thunder 100-94 on Sunday on an ESPN nationally televised game. We hope that the team can take that momentum into the final two games before the All-Star break and bring us to only 3 games below the coveted .500 mark. The New Orleans Hornets come into town struggling, having lost 7 of their last 9. The team still sits in fifth place in the West with a 33-23 record.
Keys to the game for the Warriors:
1. Repeat Steph Curry performance: Monday night was (in my opinion), Steph’s best game of the year. His 13 assists, 0 turnovers, timely scoring and defense on Russell Westbrook was extremely impressive. He is going to have to bring his A game again as he matches up with Chris Paul who has been a Warrior killer ever since he was drafted in 2005. Last time around, Paul dropped 18 points and 17 assists and has averaged nearly 25 points on 54% from the field at the Oracle. As of late, the Wake Forest alum has been cold. His scoring is down to 16 ppg on 30% over his last three and Warriors fans hope his drought continues.
2. Improved play from our bigs:
The Hornets big man combo of David West and Emeka Okafor are one of the most underrated in the league. The two combine to average 30 ppg to go along with 18 rpg. Luckily for us, Okafor is out with a hip problem. This will help our chances to compete on the glass and possibly give us some more second-chance opportunities. We need Andris Biedrins and Ekpe Udoh (who knows maybe even a Brandan Wright sighting) to play physical and smart basketball. These guys must chip in on offense and help out David Lee on the glass in order for us to keep the game within reach, especially if Monta or Steph struggle.
3. How bout some Vlad Rad?:
I think this is going to be a game where we need a fourth/fifth contributor. Steph, Monta and DLee are going to get their shots and Dorell Wright will contribute from the outside, but some bench scoring would be nice. Reggie Williams and Vlad Rad have both shown signs of life at times this season but also can be found next to inconsistency in the dictionary. I would like to see one or both of them put up back to back performances off the bench over the next two days and help the Warriors finish strong going into the All-Star break.
Prediction: 756sports predicts another Warriors win as we face a struggling Chris Paul and a Hornets team playing without Emeka Okafor. It will probably be another close one, but I think the Warriors pull it out by 6 on some solid play from the big three and a dash of some Big Bad Vlad Rad.